Civilian Journalism

The Most Powerful Tool

A few years back we had the good fortune of having James O’Keefe of Project Veritas come into Artemis for a little training.  If you are not familiar with Mr. O’Keefe or Project Veritas, I would highly recommend of few minutes of Google searching.

Mr. O’Keefe has made somewhat of a cottage industry of having activists infiltrate typically leftist organizations and simply videotaping their proceedings.  From news organizations, to NGOs, Mr. O’Keefe has both literally and figuratively captured audio and video of people within these institutions explaining their unique form of advocacy and what their ultimate goals are.

As you can imagine, these are recordings these institutions are not particularly thrilled about letting get out.  He has been sued repeatedly, and typically wins.  CNN to Planned Parenthood to members of Congress have fallen to his exposés.  Mr. O’Keefe provides the public a tremendous service:  sunlight… something that villains and bureaucrats are deathly afraid of.

Yet, advocacy within the confines of an organization like Project Veritas are not necessary for the promulgation of deep social change.

A simple video taken by a 15-year-old girl on the streets of St. Paul, Minneapolis has set the stage for a fundamental shift in race relations in the United States.

She is a journalist.

She has had no training in journalism, and is not subject to the whims and agendas of editors above her.  She has a power unlike anything ever seen in human history.  While some in the established media might bemoan this new world (when a conservative or libertarian seeks to use the mighty digital camera to expose waste and malcontents), they usually are silent or supportive when the narrative exposed by the journalist fits with their agenda as has happened in Minneapolis. 

Yet, as with most things, the worm inevitably turns.

(If you have arrived here from our newsletter, continue reading here…)

For the most part, we have all become journalists.  We all have unique tools at our disposal that allow for the dissemination of information at a rate unparalleled in human history.  Best of all… these tools do not require editorial approval for use.  From our cell phones, to various web-based platforms, we have the ability to produce, promulgate, and provide a narrative background to virtually all events that we come across. 

We also have the organic power to “keep a story alive”.  By simply “liking” or “sharing” someone else’s work, we cannot only keep a storyline alive, but we also have the ability to see the narrative become subject to peer review. 

Sometimes the underlying work is done by the State itself… and this is completely okay.  Atlanta police released the body cam footage of Rayshard Brooks.  The death of Mr. Brooks by the Atlanta PD caused the destruction of a Wendy’s drive-in restaurant, as well as the ultimate decision by the District Attorney to prosecute Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe for murder, a crime that could subject him to the death penalty. 

The gravamen of that case is the theory that the use of a taser by Mr. Brooks was not in and of itself an act of deadly force that warranted a deadly force response. 

Yet, this same DA, in a story multiplied (liked) by internet users, chose to prosecute other officers for using a taser against protesters claiming that the use of a taser by law enforcement rose to a level of deadly force.

Essentially, he is claiming the nonsensical argument that a taser, in the hands of police, constitutes deadly force, but the same taser, in the hands of a citizen resisting arrest, does not constitute deadly force.

The arrow cannot have two heads at opposite ends. 

Had it not been for the “activists” on the internet, these separate events may very well have not been connected together and become part of our national discussion. 

I always tell you that if you have a CCW wear your gun(s) all the time.  I want to add to that: Keep a fully charged phone on you at all times too!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. You have, again, smacked the nail squarely on its head! Thank you.
    I can’t wait to get back to training – I have so much to learn. And it would be nice sometime to attend a gathering where you come off-the-cuff about some of the topics you’re passionate about. I’d like to watch your mind work!

  2. The “use of deadly force” conundrum is very tricky. For a person with certain cardiac issues the use of a taser represents deadly force. An officer would not know whether the noncompliant aggressive activist had such an issue. For some CCW holders an assailant with a taser is just as lethal as one with a gun. On the other hand an assailant running away would not be a target for a CCW holder except possibly under extraordinary circumstance such as running to obviously harm someone as part of the encounter or to rerun by a different route. The “rules of engagement” get cloudy. They have varied significantly over the years from assessing what happens after you take 2 shots to “2 shots to the body and 1 to the head” of someone coming at you with a gun to emptying the 10-17 round magazine as fast as possible to assure you stop the threat (“spray and pray”). That is why we need Lieberman and Taormina to sort it out. Unfortunately, it still is not clear and certainly not in the heat of an encounter. The idea of the prospective of a reasonable person’s expectation of the threat seems to go away when politics comes into play including the differences between the perspectives of a military engagement, law enforcement and the CCW holder.

  3. I don’t think a taser is classified as “lethal” or “non-lethal.” I think it is technically classified as “less lethal” meaning it has the potential to be lethal (such as underlying medical conditions mentioned here or a medical phenomenon known as “R on T” where an induced electrical current could potentially cause a fatal cardiac dysrhythmia), but that potential is less than a firearm.

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